Oceania Tennis Championship under way

THE Fifth Oceania Tennis Championships has kicked off at Apia Park.

Ten countries are competing in this year’s tournament and are led by Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Tahiti-nui, Vanuatu and the host Samoa.

The teams are competing in the open men’s and women’s divisions.

The Oceania Championships was initiated by New Caledonia Tennis and implemented by the Oceania Tennis Federation.

Australian tennis player Anzac Leidig spoke of his excitement to be part of the competition.

“This is my first time in Samoa and it’s just beautiful and very green everywhere. The culture is what we’re really interested in.

“For me in tennis, the passion is overcoming so many challenges, it’s like playing tennis. Unpredictable in every way; sometimes you may win some and lose in others. But perseverance is important in overcoming any obstacles.

“Samoa is very hot though, and we have to adjust in playing in these conditions but overall looking forward to this whole week’s experience,” he said in an interview with Samoa Observer.

The Australian indigenous tennis team for the Oceania championships with coach Evonne Goolagong (centre).
The Australian indigenous tennis team for the Oceania championships with coach Evonne Goolagong (centre).

Tennis Australia has sent a team of six Indigenous Australians to compete at the 2018 Oceania Tennis Championships –  the first all-Indigenous team to represent Australia in tennis at an international event.

Natalie Roe and Harrison Lee-Schell, both from the Northern Territory, are joined by Anzac Leidig and Ella Merritt from NSW, Janaya Smith from Tasmania and Adam Lasky from Victoria to wear the green and gold on the international stage.

Cook Islands player Davina Hosking-Ashford also said he was excited to be in Samoa for the championship.

“I am here due to my inspiration in playing for my home land Cook Islands. But other than that, I play because of my passion for the sport.

“The weather in Samoa is amazing; the people are lovely as well.

“Tennis is such an addictive sport for me due to the adrenaline rush it comes with it. But other than that, me and my team are just excited for the competition.”